Eq: Total Market

(New York)

Here is a mundane but important question: what is the best single fund to track the whole market? There is now a wealth of options, from Fidelity’s free index tracker all the way to popular, but more costly SPY. The answer to this question is not as straightforward as one might think, as each of the funds has its own characteristics. For instance, while Vanguard’s VTI is popular, it has a quirky structure that can boost unrealized gains. It is also harder to trade without fees. Fidelity’s zero fee index mutual fund is a good choice, but only available on its own platform. Blackrock’s ITOT might be the best choice overall when considering fees, performance, and availability.


FINSUM: For being considered “vanilla”, there certainly are a lot of different flavors of index tracker these days.

(New York)

The market had a relief rally right after the election results came in. Yesterday wasn’t so good. The big question on everyone’s mind is where the market is headed from here. Looking historically, the current political arrangement (split Congress, Republican presidency) is the worst for markets. The S&P 500 has had the lowest returns in the current political set up, though it has only occurred four times since 1900.


FINSUM: The market’s outlook for 2019 appears fairly bleak to flat for us. The main reason why is that there won’t be another major tax package, and the great earnings of this year will make 2019 comparisons look weak. Growth is also likely to slow.

(New York)

Investors have been really afraid of the next bear market for the last few months. Ever since spreads grew tighter and the economy became very strong, fears of a looming recession and accompanying bear market have been rampant. Here are six signs to consider about a potential bear market. Firstly, look at high yield bond spreads. When they start to rise, its shows the credit cycle is ending, potentially signaling a recession. Yield curve steepness (or inversion) is another key metric. Deal activity in M&A is also excellent sign. Weekly jobless claims are another strong leading indicator. Finally, look at investor sentiment. When investors are very confident, that tends to be when the bear bites.


FINSUM: This is a pretty good list of leading indicators. Some are flashing red right now, while other are humming along nicely.

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